Are Congressional Republicans Already Caving In on Gun Control?

On Sunday's Meet the Press, President Obama promised to put the "full weight" of the presidency behind measures to infringe on Americans' Second Amendment rights. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has already proposed a new gun control law that would, among other things, renew the expired "assault weapons" ban and force fingerprinting of Americans who own certain types of firearms. There's talk of new laws to ban "high-capacity" ammunition magazines as well.

Republicans control the House and, thus, could be expected as the party of Second Amendment rights to be ready to stop whatever the president and the Democrats come up with in the Senate. But the Doc Thompson radio show has posted what it is says is correspondence with a source in one of the Republican congressional leaders' offices. The emails were apparently exchanged between December 27 and 30. Click to enlarge.

The crucial email is the one sent at 3:06 pm on the 27th. The source notes that Newtown would not have been prevented if Feinstein's bill had been law, but allows that the Republicans may assist in banning "high-capacity magazines" and move on background checks, along with mental health and enforcement of existing law.

The fact is, we already have a background check regime in place. The National Instant Background Check System (NICS), run by the FBI, gets called up for criminal background check anytime anyone purchases a firearm from a licensed retailer. The process differs somewhat from state to state. "Assault weapons" are already banned in Connecticut, where the Newtown massacre occurred. The Newtown killer may have been stalled by the NICS -- some reports say that he attempted to buy a gun at a sporting goods store but failed -- but he clearly was not stopped. He apparently stole his guns from his mother, killed her, and then went on his rampage. His mother had no criminal background and owned the guns legally. The Webster, NY shooter was a known career felon and could not have bought his guns legally. So, as criminals do, he found a way around the system. He either stole the guns he used from his neighbor, or he used her as a straw purchaser to get the guns for him. His neighbor, Dawn Nguyen, has been arrested and charged with being his straw buyer two years ago. She reportedly says that Spangler stole the guns, but he was with her when she bought them, and she never reported them stolen.